Monday, June 26, 2017

Automen face the music loses 265 licences


PUNE: Since the beginning of June, 265 autorickshaw drivers have had their licences revoked for breaking traffic rules and refusing to ply. Autorickshaw drivers have also been charged penalty for other offences, including not wearing their uniform or badges, illegal parking, and misbehaviour.

The sustained drive has been initiated in response to repeated complaints from citizen groups about autorickshaw drivers' high-handedness, in particular, their refusal to ply on certain routes or demand return fare. The action involved plain clothes policemen posing as customers to gauge the driver's response. The autorickshaw drivers' union has term the drive illegal and unfair.

According to data compiled by the police, most cases have been reported from Shivajinagar, Koregaon Park and Dattawadi divisions.The maximum number of licenses have been revoked in Koregaon Park and Dattawadi divisions. The drive has already amassed over Rs1.3 lakh for the state coffers.

Nitin Pawar, convener of the city's Rickshaw Panchayat, claimed the police action was unjustified and unwarranted. "The police is behaving like it has set a daily target of collecting fines. Worse, the police pose as dummy customers, trick drivers with questions and issue challan within minutes.

Many autorickshaw drivers come from poor backgrounds and cannot afford to have their licenses revoked even for a day . Here, they are forced to make many trips to the Regional Transport Office to get back their license and are forced to pay a hefty fine too," he said. 

In response, deputy commissioner of police (traffic) stated that the attitude of autorickshaw drivers needs to change. "We are taking action based on complaints of harassment, especially of women and senior citizens. An autorickshaw driver cannot refuse a journey however small the distance," he said.


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